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Alumna Spotlight: Dorothy “Dotty” Ferguson Corbiere ’64

May 9, 2019

Watching this year’s Boston Marathon, Dorothy “Dotty” Ferguson Corbiere ’64 reminisced about her completion of the race in 2018. Not only was she a finisher, Dotty placed twelfth last year in her age group.

Pictured: Dorothy “Dotty” Ferguson Corbiere ’64 (third from right) with her daughter and grandchildren

When and why did you start running?

I started running at 35 or so because my husband was a runner and I thought it would be a good way to get “me” time with him since I never had any! I never ran with my husband as we never had babysitters, so we would take turns — it was for me, myself and I.

What were your sports at Walker’s?

My sports at Walker’s were nothing to be proud of. I started in soccer and did not have soccer shoes or black sneakers so I switched to tennis. That is the only thing I remember. Maybe field hockey in the fall? But I don’t remember anything competitive. I rode in the Buckaroo Horse Show. That was for the scaredy cats. I was led around the ring but it was fun. The horse show was for beginner riders and non-riders. It was just a way to include us non-riders, but was fun! It was in the indoor riding ring on the Old Cluett side of the road.

What were your goals for your first marathon?

My goal for my first marathon was just to finish and I did it in 3:18. No one could believe it as I think I was a smoker at the time. That made me realize I could qualify for Boston and one of my sisters lived there, so that was going to be my fortieth birthday present to myself. My family said ‘Don’t wait!’ so I ran another marathon to qualify and I ran that in 3:30, stopping to repair a bad blister.

What goals did you have after you were bit by the marathon bug?

I did not run another marathon for years. I did some triathlons which were fun, but then at about age 50-something I had a run in with a dog and broke my leg very badly. I spent a week in the hospital and I was told I would never run again as it required a bone graft from my hip and two big screws in my leg. The screws were removed two years later and in the same surgery they broke up scar tissue, took out a bone fragment, and I started to run again a year later.

Did you run the Boston Marathon for an organization?

Fast forward and I began to run and bike ride for charity as I had a son (right) with AIDS, so I ran for the SPARK (Supporting Parents and Resilient Kids) Center under the umbrella of Boston Medical Center. I did the marathon three more times — the last being last year (2018 in the rain) and I raised $30,000 to be used for children and teens affected by AIDS. My son had hemophilia which required a lot of blood transfusions and was one of the unfortunate ones to contract AIDS. He died at age 28. He was an all-American swimmer in college and lived an amazing life despite his adversity.

My daughter is a runner too (and did an Ironman Triathlon) and her daughter, Payson Grace Salyer, was named after the uncle she never knew. My daughter has four kids who live up the street and go to my school, Meadowbrook. Meadowbrook is a K-8 independent school right in Weston, Massachusetts where I am a lower school math teacher. It is fun for all of us. All are athletes and respected students and community members and it is nice as I know all their teachers so well. They are all lacrosse players as well as skiers. I count my blessings that I have them and my health!

Do you have plans to run the Boston Marathon again?

Maybe next year, or when I turn 75.